DENR Region IVB holds Capacity-building on Protected Area Management and Ecotourism Development

by: Michaela T. Rongavilla / Ma. Grace Laurente-Agatep


               capacity bldg copyThe Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS) held a three-day event on the capacity-building on protected area management and ecotourism development on April 03-05, 2014. Lectures were held at PENR Office, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro and practicum and team-building activity at the Protected Area Office, Apo Reef Natural Park, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. The capacity-building was organized to enhance the understanding of PAWCZMS staff on environment and natural resources policies governing protected area management and ecotourism development, enhance their technical skills, enhance appreciation on collaborative conflict management, identify rules and procedures on environmental cases, determine ecotourism development initiatives in ARNP and increase appreciation of the tamaraw protection and conservation program.

                The first day of the event was formally started by the welcome remarks of PENRO Conrado A. Espejo. In his message, PENRO Espejo expressed his gratitude to PAWCZMS-Regional Office for initiating the conduct of the said activity taking into consideration its importance to the participants, especially to the Protected Area Superintendents (PASUs). The Regional Technical Director (RTD) for PAWCZMS, RTD Gwendolyn C. Bambalan also gave her inspirational message wherein she shared her gratefulness to the PAWCZMS staff who were able to organize this kind of capacity-building and appreciated the Office of PENRO-Occidental Mindoro for their invaluable cooperation and support in the conduct of the capacity-building. Lectures for the first day covered Strengthening the Operations and Management of Protected by OIC-Chief Lino M. Dimapilis, Enhancing Technical Writing Skills by Ms. Almira Nerissa A. Andin (a freelance IEC Specialist), Collaborative Conflict Management in Biodiversity Conservation Management by RTD Bambalan and Rules of Procedures in Environmental Cases by Atty. Orlino D. Agatep, Jr. (a private law practitioner). To test the participants’ understanding in the first two lectures, a quiz and practical exam was given to the participants on protected area management and technical writing, respectively. The first day of the capacity-building was ended by an open forum wherein the participants inquired from Atty. Agatep matters concerning rules on apprehension and filing of cases.

               The second day is the discussion of Mr. Alen Ablan of Forestry Management Service (FMS) on the functionality of geo-tagging using the geo cam application. His presentation was then followed by the discussion of Ms. Grace C. Diamante (Executive Director of Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. or MBCFI) on Mindoro Biodiversity. She highlighted the result of their site assessment in Apo Reef Natural Park in 2013. Likewise, the Regional Director Oscar C. Dominguez gave his inspirational message. He cited the importance of having an effective management of the protected area. In view of the requirement by the Central Office on photo documentations, he conveyed that the lecture on geo-tagging will be helpful to the field staff of PAWCZMS in their documentation since the photos captured using geo-tagging will be reflective of the exact target area/site, with proper coordinates, under consideration. Further, he informed the participants that the DENR Secretary, Sec. Ramon Paje, has expressed his interest in the further development of ANRP. The Regional Director will visit ARNP to initially assess the proposed area for the construction of the helipad structure.

                On the third day, Mr. Ablan discussed the steps in geo-tagging in the actual field work within the Apo Reef Natural Park. The participants, using their own tablets/cellphones, took photos and videos using the geo-cam. On the other hand, PASu Fe M. Raguindin and Asst. PASu Robert Duquil gave a brief background on ARNP and shared their experiences in the conduct of their monitoring and patrolling activities, ecotourism strategies/initiatives and ARNP management. Meanwhile, Park Ranger Odelon Dangeros discussed the Do’s and Dont’s while in ARNP. The participants were grouped according to their place of office and had a quiz/recitation on the lectures of Atty. Agatep, Ms. Andin and RTD Bambalan. As the result, the Palawan Team emerged as the winner.

               The last topic, Guidelines on Ecotourism Management and Development Plan, was discussed by RTD Bambalan. She emphasized on her lecture the concept of ecotourism and the steps involve in establishing an ecotourism management plan within the protected area. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to the familiarization of the ecotourism sites in ARNP: Lagoon, Lighthouse, Coral Gardens, Dive Sites, Mangrove Sites and Pawikan nesting sites. Lastly, the participants had a teambuilding which was facilitated by RTD Bambalan. The activity provided the participants an opportunity to bond with each other as they were randomly divided into four groups. After each game, the groups were asked for any insights which they gained from the experience.